For a long time I didn't think studying abroad was possible with my biochemistry major. I thought there were too many required courses & that labs could not be taken elsewhere. However, during the spring of my sophomore year I decided to really investigate. Studying abroad was something I wanted to do. Something I thought I would surely regret if I didn't at least try. Try I did, and I couldn't be happier. I studied abroad at Maastricht University during the fall of my junior year. With a lot of planning I was able to use all of my courses abroad to fulfill either major, minor, or liberal arts requirements. During the two blocks I took basic Dutch; European Public Health in a Globalizing World; Culture, Politics, and Society in Contemporary Asia; Biochemistry with lab; and Medical Ethics. In hindsight, having the opportunity to learn and engage with my coursework in a different way (Problem Based Learning) was incredibly rewarding. The different learning style certainly had its challenges, but it was something I likely would have never been exposed to without Maastricht University.
I cannot say enough about my experience abroad. Traveling was an obvious up. In approximately 4 months I went to 16 countries! I especially enjoyed the school's field trips where activities, transportation, and accommodations were all planned out for the students.
Maastricht itself is a lovely little city. It was a place that quickly began to feel like home. I really liked being in a smaller city. There were few tourists and it was easy to get around (by bike of course :] ). It was refreshing to be able to take a train to Amsterdam or fly to Rome on the weekend and then come back. It was also very easy to get around knowing only English in Maastricht.
The food was great. Two of my favorites were stroopwafel, a thin caramel like waffle cookie, and bitterballen, what I think fried gravy would taste like. The Guest House accommodations were within walking distance of a large grocery store, which made shopping relatively easy. I also appreciated how the program offered cell phones for rent. While I didn't use my international phone too frequently, it really came in handy when I needed it.
My four months in Maastricht were incredible and I would definitely recommend this program for students looking to study in an English-speaking country with great access to different corners of Europe.